All posts by reneeinnd

Rome, Prague, or Sioux Falls

We are planning a Christmas holiday in Brookings, South Dakota this year. Son and Daughter in Law will host in their new home. We will drive from western North Dakota, and daughter will fly to Sioux Falls from Tacoma.

Daughter texted me in exasperation last week to inform me that she could fly much cheaper to Prague or Rome than she can to Sioux Falls. That is the sad state of airfare costs in the Dakotas. where flights cost an arm and a leg if you fly out of the secondary hubs of Sioux Falls, Bismarck, Fargo, or Rapid City.

Well, I would rather be in Prague, too, but family is in Brookings, and that is where we will be. We will help daughter with her airfare so she won’t be out so much money. This made me think of what Christmas in Rome or Prague would be like, and something for us to think about in the next couple of years.

Where was the farthest from home you ever spent the holidays ? Ever been to Prague or Rome? If you planned a trip over the holidays, where would you go? Got any good stories about Sioux Falls?

Feeling Needed

Our son and daughter-in-law are moving into their first home this Friday. We won’t be able to get to see them until October, over the long weekend for Indigenous Peoples’ Day. As usual, my job when we get there will be to hang the pictures and other decorative things on the walls.

I don’t know why they always want me to do this. They say I know how to center things so they look good. I just make a point of measuring and marking where the hangers should go. It isn’t that hard, but they appreciate it.

Husband is the family go to guy for landscaping advice. Son and his wife have a huge yard at the new house with no plants or trees or flowers. Son has been asking for landscaping advice already, and Husband has some ideas for him. We plan to bring all our flower and seed catalogs. It should be a fun visit.

What makes you feel needed? What skills do you want to teach others so they aren’t lost? How do you go about hanging things on the walls?

Out Of The Doldrums

Ever since April, 2020, Husband has stayed at home, seeing only a few psychotherapy clients a week and filling his time with volunteer work and gardening. He was relieved to be done working on the Reservation. He had his pension and Social Security.

I noticed over the last year, though, that he just didn’t seem to be getting much done at home, and his typically solemn demeanor became even more lugubrious.

Since he was hired at his new, part-time job last week, everything has changed, the world is full of new and exciting possibilities, and I can hardly keep up with him. It is really good to see. He really was deep in the doldrums, and I didn’t realize just how deep. He feels he has a purpose again. A ten hours a week job made a huge difference! His new found exuberance has partly taken the form of cooking, however, and I worry we may need to get a new freezer.

What helps you to feel really happy? What helps to get you out of a funk? What gives you purpose?

College, Ducks, and Corn

Today’s post comes from Ben

Typically, there isn’t a lot going on in August once the oats and straw is done. One year it rained a lot and oats was late and straw kept getting delayed and I was still doing straw in September and that just made me grumpy. But usually, August is a pretty quiet month.

College classes started so I’ve got homework again. ‘MN Rocks and Waters’. This first week is plate tectonics and continental drift. It’s interesting but there sure are a lot of terms and I hope I don’t have to memorize all of them.

I’ve been picking some corn ears, looking at plant health, and monitoring progress. The plant looks pretty good; not seeing any fungal diseases (which wouldn’t be expected in a dry year like this) Some ears look better than other ears.

Most have above average girth counting 16 or 18 around (it will always an even number) and length varies. Good ones count 42 kernels long. Shorter ones count 30. There are ways to estimate final yield by doing the math. We’ll see. I won’t bore you with the details. It doesn’t take into account how many deer are out there anyway.

Soybeans are looking OK too. Starting to turn yellow (meaning maturing) and it’s interesting you don’t hear so much about estimating soybean yield. Not a perfect science perhaps.

The ducks have learned to spend the day outside and go back in at night. It’s still wet inside their pen no matter how often I clean it. It’s the end of the pen where the water is, they’re just sloppy drinkers.  Kelly and I were talking that we don’t remember if they’re always this skittish. There is a breed called ‘Indian Runners’ and they’re always totally crazy. But I just don’t remember if these breeds are usually so nervous. Maybe it’s the mallards? Maybe in another month they’ll mellow out a bit. After all, they’re just barely a month old. It’s impressive how fast they grow.

I gathered up all the round bales of straw and put them in a line. Just so they’re not scattered all over the fields and to make it easier for the guys to pick up later.

If there was alfalfa hay growing under the oats it would be important to move them as soon as possible so as not to kill the alfalfa. But in this case, I’ll be digging up the field in another week or two simply to control weeds. And since I don’t know when they’ll pick them up, this may be a snow fence too.

I got parts for the grain drill that I want to get put back on this fall. And some new parts for the corn planter I could be working on.

My mom is adjusting to her room in the Long Term Care area. One day she said the bad was outweighing the good. But she says good things about the staff, and she gets ice cream every day, and yesterday she said she’s almost ready to call it home.

With rain predicted for the next few days I cleaned gutters out this morning. One was more involved than expected; it wasn’t just cleaning the leaves out from the top; it was pulling off an extension under the deck and snaking a hose up in there to flush it out.

Do you wear any rings? What is/was your wedding ring like?

Stylistic Differences

I was looking through a magazine the other day, and I ran across an ad for a Swedish Women’s clothing company. The styles were fanciful, with skirts, tunics, dresses, pants, and sweaters in wild prints and vivid colors that are worn in layers with leggings. The clothes looked really comfortable. I like wearing layers. Wearing such clothes, though, would be a real stylistic change for me.

In the winter I dress pretty low key, in pull over sweaters and cardigans with corduroy pants and sensible shoes. Nothing fancy. I want to be warm and comfortable. In the summer, I just switch to Capri pants and shirts. The only time I dress up is when I have to testify in court. My coworkers always notice and comment “You must be going to court today!”

Changing my clothing style so drastically would excite rather a lot of comment at my work. No one who I know of in town wears anything like the Swedish clothing I saw in the magazine. People might think I was having a crisis in identity. I haven’t made up my mind yet, but I think I could possibly venture out with maybe one new, wild, Swedish ensemble. We will see.

How would you describe your style? What is the most outrageous outfit you have ever worn? If you could, how would you change the style of clothing you wear?

Play Ball!

The high school football season has started here. Both the high schools in our town play their games in the local college stadium. As I drove past the college football grounds this week, I saw two high school teams getting ready to play, and four striped shirt referees walking onto the field. I thought immediately of my father.

My dad officiated high school baseball, basketball, football, and volleyball for 68 years. He absolutely loved it. He umpired his last high school baseball game at the age of 88 in the Metrodome. Once, he started having chest pains during a baseball game in Iowa between Cherokee and Sheldon. Since it was the last game of the season, he didn’t want to call the game, so he downed eight nitroglycerin tablets and hoped for the best. The next day he had cardiac bypass surgery.

The rules for sports are fairly clear cut. The rules for human relationships off the field are not. I despise mediating. I refuse to provide marital counseling. I just can’t be that kind of referee.

When have you had to referee or mediate? Ever had any beefs with a sports official? Ever been thrown out of a game?

In Memorium

This has been a hard week for music lovers, with the deaths of Nancy Griffith, Don Everly, Tom T. Hall, and Charlie Watts.

I first heard Nancy Griffith at the Winnipeg Folk Music Festival in 1982. Husband heard Charlie Watts and the Rolling Stones in Milwaukee in 1975, with the Eagles. Ronnie Wood and Billy Preston played with them. Chaka Khan was also there. I heard Tom T. Hall on the radio ad nauseum as I grew up.

I loved the work Nancy Griffith did with the Chieftains. I loved she was a Kindergarten teacher. I also love her song about Deadwood, SD. It hits home.

Let’s remember the music today, Baboons!

School Jitters

One part of my current job is that of a clinician on our Youth and Family Team. School starts here on Thursday, and it seems like many of our young clients are falling apart at the prospect of a new school year.

I remember being unable to sleep in the days before school started, anxious about the excitement and uncertainty. I never had to worry about getting a potentially deadly disease or wearing masks, or worrying if I would be sent home on quarantine. Things are sure different.

The members of my team can’t wait until school starts and thing presumably settle down for our clients. At least we hope they settle down.

What about school starting gave you the jitters when you were a child? What were your most favorite and least favorite years in elementary and middle school?

A Change Of Pace

The other day, Fenton commented in the post about retirement that we other Baboons sounded as though we were “highly motivated ” in regard to our activity levels. My first thought about that was “of course we are, we are maniacs here in the US!” My subsequent thoughts were about the culture shock I experienced when I moved to Canada for graduate school in 1980.

It was very disconcerting for me to realize that in Winnipeg, no businesses opened until 10:00 AM. There was no mail service on Saturday, and no Sunday newspaper delivery. The collective good was emphasized over personal ambition. Speed limits were lower. People were very polite. People took lots of coffee breaks. Lots of tea was consumed. Hardly anyone had a firearm. In the summer, it was more important for people to spend time out of doors than to work. There were no drive through coffee shops, only drive through beer stores. No one worried about paying their medical bills. In order to drink in a pub, you had to sit at a table and there was no standing at the bar. There were very few fast food restaurants.

I often found myself frustrated with the slower pace. It seemed nothing got done expediently. Looking back, I sure would welcome that slower pace again. I know workers in the US are far more productive than in Canada, but at what cost to health and sanity?

What trends and customs from other countries would you like to take hold where you live?

Farming In August

Today’s post comes from Ben.

Actually, hasn’t been much farming the last few weeks…

I’m back at “work” work now, and I lit another show, and we moved my mom to long term care.

Here’s a theater space I was working in and the genie lift that’s my best friend because it means no ladders!

And the view from up there.

With the lights.

And the lighting console in the loft.

And some of the finished product. The colored lights? That’s what I did.   

It’s a show called ‘Head Over Heels’, music of the GoGo’s (which apparently I only know two songs.

Mom is 95 and has just kinda lost her self confidence in the last few months. There’s been a few falls (nothing serious) and I think she kinda likes it when the firemen come to help pick her up. And I’m lucky I have siblings here and everyone is chipping in to pack and deal with things.
Moving to a long-term care apartment was her idea so that makes it a bit easier; we were over there more and more and balancing the cost of more Visiting Angels or Assisted Living or LTC, she decided this was the thing to do. I can’t say enough good things about VA; they’ve been great.

She was already in a Senior place so we’re lucky that she’s just moving into another section and not across town or anything.

There is a large metal bin down by the barn that holds corn which I use for the chickens and ducks. I opened the top lid one day to climb up and check how much was left inside, and then forgot about it and left the top open for two weeks and that’s when we got 3” of rain. Oh fer….

I spent an hour one morning taking an access cover off the bottom and digging out about 30 gallons of wet, stinky, moldy, rotten corn. I’ll try not to forget to close that again. Thank Goodness it’s almost empty. I’ll be ordering 100 bushels of cracked corn to refill in the next few weeks.

They say August is bean month. Beans have pods, but how big they’re going to get depends on the weather in August.

I was just reading about how corn develops and how the yields are determined by the weather. It takes roughly 90,000 average kernels to make a bushel (56 pounds for corn, remember?). The guys who are winning the yield contests can get that down to 65,000 kernels (bigger, heavier kernels). Final yield started with how many plants emerged back in April. The girth of the ear was determined at the 5-leaf stage; If the plant was happy and it had all the right nutrients and moisture, it can have 20 kernels around. 12-14 is average so any more than that means everything was going right at that point. Now the kernels are there and it depends on the weather as to how much they fill and what the test weight will ultimately be. If it gets stressed now, it won’t develop fully to the tip as the plant sacrifices them to fill the bottom. A lot had to happen already, but the weather this month can still make or break a crop. It’s pretty fascinating.

The ducks have moved outside and now it’s all muddy out there (I swear; everything is wet when you have ducks).

Here’s some ducks!

Any Questions?

Boil or microwave your sweetcorn? Who’s done mud wrestling?